Silver Lake and Microsoft expected to bid for stake in Yahoo
A consortium of investors led by the private equity firm Silver Lake and Microsoft is one of several parties that will be submitting a plan to take a minority stake in Yahoo, according to people briefed on the matter.
TPG Capital, another private equity firm, is also expected to submit a proposal, these people said. Both plans involve taking as much as a 20 percent stake in Yahoo.
Yahoo’s financial advisers at Allen & Co. and Goldman Sachs had set the end of business Monday as a deadline for offers for a minority stake in company, these people said. Yahoo’s board is expected to discuss the matter as soon as this week.
These people briefed on the matter requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private negotiations. Representatives for Silver Lake, Microsoft, Yahoo and TPG declined to comment.
Yahoo appears increasingly less interested in selling itself as a whole. In recent weeks, the company’s directors and advisers have gravitated toward plans that call for an investor or consortium to buy a stake of as much as 20 percent. Yahoo would then take on debt to finance a stock buyback.
Combined with the roughly 10 percent stake that is held by Yahoo’s co-founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo, the maneuver would effectively give the winning investor group a majority holding.
But the board may still consider bids for the entire company, according to a separate person who is close to the company but was also not authorized to discuss the negotiations.
Silver Lake, Microsoft and its consortium, which will most likely include the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, may be particularly attractive to Yahoo, which is seeking to bolster its leadership on the product and finance side. Yahoo has not elected a chief executive since the board ousted Carol A. Bartz in September. The company has been run on an interim basis by Timothy Morse, but the board has hired an executive search firm to look for a permanent replacement.
In recent weeks, the Silver Lake group discussed the possibility of installing Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape and a co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, as a Yahoo board member, three of the people briefed on the matter said.
Other private equity firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, THL Partners and Hellman & Friedman, may also participate in a minority investment, one of these people said.
Potential investors are expected to firm up details of their proposals in the coming days, these people said.
One of Yahoo’s biggest partners, meanwhile, the Alibaba Group of China, an e-commerce company, is holding discussions with private equity firms like the Blackstone Grouput forming a bid to buy all of Yahoo, according to people briefed on those discussions.
Because of rights associated with Yahoo’s 40 percent stake in Alibaba, the Chinese company is considered to wield significant power. Alibaba has expressed interest in buying back its stake from Yahoo, although the two sides are not in discussions, one of these people said.